Field performance of in-service cast iron water reticulation pipe buried in reactive clay

Derek Chun Chuen Chan, Chaminda Pathma Kumara Gallage, Pathmanathan Rajeev, Jayantha Kumarasiri Kodikara

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Field monitoring is an important means for understanding soil behaviour and its interaction with buried structures such as pipeline. This paper details the successful instrumentation of a section of an in-service cast iron water main buried in an
area of reactive clay where frequent water pipe breakage has been observed. The instrumentation included measurement of pipe strain; pipe water pressure and temperature; soil pressure, temperature, moisture content, and matric suction; as well as the meteorological conditions on site. The data generally indicated that changes in soil temperature, suction, and moisture content were directly related to the local climatic variations. The suction and moisture content data indicated that the soil profile at the site down to around 700 mm, and probably down to 1000 mm, is affected by changes in surface weather, while soil conditions below this depth appear to be more stable. Analysis of pipe strain indicated that the pipe behaves like a cantilever beam, with the top experiencing predominantly tensile strains during summer. Subsequently, these trends reduce to compressive strains as soil swelling occurs because of the increase of moisture content with the onset of winter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1861 - 1873
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2015


  • Field instrumentation
  • Cast-iron water main
  • Soil movement
  • Expansive soil
  • Moisture content
  • Meteorological conditions

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